Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Simple Act of Kindness Can Go a Long Way #26ActsOfKindness

I remember after September 11th how fragile New Yorkers were. When I returned to work, strangers said "good morning" and held the elevator door open.  

It's been more than a week since the Sandy Hook tragedy. And we are once again a nation in mourning. Our hearts heavy, are eyes watery and our minds still in disbelief. And in these times of unimaginable sorrow, we are reminded how precious life is and of how much we take for granted. 

Tis the season of goodwill toward men (women and children). And to honor the 26 lives lost, people everywhere are participating in random acts of kindness.

I try to be a kind person. I try to be considerate of others. I give up my seat on the train for pregnant women, parents holding babies and the elderly or disabled. I hold doors open for strangers. I say bless you when a stranger next to me sneezes, offer them a tissue if I have one. I smile and say 'good morning' to people I don't even know - because even a smile can make a difference in someone's day. I let people go ahead of me at the checkout line.

It's days before Christmas. And I haven't purchased a single gift for anyone other than The Boy. There just hasn't been any time to do so. And it's hard for me to buy gifts for those that mean the most because my gratitude is so great, it surpasses my limited budget.

I remember my mother saying to me once. "It doesn't matter what I give at Christmas, I give all year long." As a child I didn't understand what that meant. Now I do. My mother is the kind of person who gives all year round. She gives her time so generously and expects absolutely nothing in return. She gives of herself quietly, wanting no recognition, praise or even gratitude.I admire her most for that.

My mother never wants a gift for anything. But the other day, I called her up and thanked her. I really thanked for all of the help she has given me over the last few years. I told her much I appreciated everything she does for me. And I told her how grateful I was for everything. I think my words of appreciation were better than any gift.

But I also greatly appreciate the kindness of strangers. Having a son with autism - it's come to be something I have had to depend on. Random acts of kindness mean so much to me. And I try to pay it forward whenever I can.

I love the idea of Random Acts of Kindness. But the idea of posting about my acts of kindness and what I'm doing seems artificial for me. It's like how I feel about charity. When I give to something, I don't want to be recognized for it. I do it because I want to, not for any accolades.

I want to go into 2013 being a kinder person. But I don't need to talk about my kind acts, I just want to do them.  

I hope you do too.

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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.